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arts and culture | community building

Activists prepare for Village Building Convergence!

Community activists nationwide are gearing up for the Village Building Convergence with this years' first benefit event on Saturday, January 14th. A music, art and education extravaganza, it will feature a special performance by Albino, whose heavy heavy Afrobeat sound has led to mythic Portland performances. We will also celebrate the CD release of local Reggae legend, 'The Instigators.'

VILLAGE BUILDING CONVERGENCE: The Village Building Convergence fulfills The City Repair Project of Portland's project to educate, inspire and activate local communities and develop our city and bioregion as a network of interconnected Village Centers.

As villagers, we seek to combine our highest knowledge and understanding of history, contemporary conditions, social, ecological and technological innovations and our respect for future generations.

ALBINO!: Albino is a San Francisco Bay Area-based 12-piece Afrobeat ensemble that honors the fiery legacy of Afrobeat inventor Fela Kuti by melding tightly-crafted arrangements and jazz-tinged harmony with propulsive, high energy grooves. Formed in 2003, Albino has performed to capacity crowds up and down the West Coast and as far east as Chicago. The band's members hail from such well known acts as Spearhead, CK Ladzekpo, and Hamsa Lila, among others. Albino re-acquaints listeners with what it feels like to truly groove, and infuses entire audiences with an ecstatic energy that pours forth from the stage whenever this funk-fueled juggernaut performs.

INSTIGATORS: Undeniable, Unstoppable. Unforgettable! Instigators are original reggae music. This 8 piece band has a definitive sound that is both traditional and new. Formed in 1996 by Daniel Lamb, Instigators is one of the premier reggae acts on the west coast. Their soon to be released CD "Living Gift"- 15 all original tracks that speak to the massive is incredible. The vision of the music is clear: honest songs delivered with experience and style.

"Danny Lamb & Instigators horn section. Off the meter!" - Ras Danny, KBOO 90.7 fm Portland, Oregon

homepage: homepage: http://vbc.cityrepair.org/vbc6/

WTF? 22.Dec.2005 12:36


This reminds me. What is this I hear about city repair opening a cafe 2 doors down from
the red and black? I hope this isn't true.

That would be pretty bad for an organization that likes to talk about community. You can't
stab your allies in the back and expect them to smile and give you a hug.

Don't do it.

City Repair: Localization on Division Street 30.Dec.2005 19:00

Mark Lakeman moontrout@cityrepair.org

Thanks for the concern you've expressed about the Red & Black Cafe and City Repair. I really appreciate the way you have stated your concern more as a question than as a judgement. I'm going to reply to your comments below. 1) "What is this I hear about city repair opening a cafe 2 doors down from the red and black? I hope this isn't true." Reply: First, as part of a complete response, I want to give some background on the relationship that R&B & CR share. Both Red & Black Cafe and City Repair are located within the boiundaries of the "Seven Corners Localization Initiative"(SCLI), which is centered at the intersection of SE 21st/20th and Division. In solidarity with and support of the R&B, CR has been assisting with the SCLI since 2001 when we facilitated the initial workshops that have become the Division Green/Main Street Plan, which has received some millions of dollars now in funding to support permeable surfaces, bioswales, gathering places, curb extensions, and other features along Division street. These workshops were held in the R&B Cafe. Pedro Ferbel, as a co-founder of CR and longstanding rep for SCLI, has fundraised, coordinated, and personally led the construction of all three of the cob gathering place structures on the block, including the R&B cob information kiosk, the Mirador benches, and the Kung Fu Studio bench. He has also represented the SCLI at SE Uplift for three years, from 2001 to 2003. At the invitation of R&B and other allies in the same building, CR moved in on to Division Street almost a year ago. The Incubator on Division Street- The storefront location has always been seen as a great way for CR to do even better what we have always done; gather people together to undertake intentional, creative, world-transforming actions while sharing time and space, always including drinks and food. In the service of accelerating the development of a bioregional economy and political culture, the incubator we are creating in the CR storefront will serve as a promoter of all things local. It will work as a reception/nest-gateway into City Repair HQ as well as a social gathering place where people can come get ideas and information, about who's doing what, where, how and why -all over the city. To further the goals of the SCLI and also support R&B Cafe, our approach to this project is engender the "multiplier effect" that will attract even more energy and attention to, and awareness of, the issues that R&B, CR, Mirador, and others champion on Division. This means that we intend to further activate the streetscape with people gathering, lingering, conversing, and building relationships in the commons. So, as with everything we undertake, we intend to build much stronger connections between the local community and local businesses. In this, we will be standing in the face of Starbucks across the street and the not-inevitable gentrification of Division Street. As much as anything we look forward to accomplishing, we will be attracting a diverse mix of people from all over the city, region, and continent. In the "Reception-Nest", as we're calling it, there will be all kinds of items for sale, including Village/Home/Locally-made foods, crafts, books, art, clothing, and bulk items. Most of these items will be unlike what Mirdaor carries. There will also be computer access to City Repair's "Village Information System"(VIS) to find out about all things local, including community and ecologically sustainable living places(such as shared housing, coops, co-housing, and ecoVillages), permanent and temporary work opportunities, and even ways to find "dates" if you are open on any given night or day. We'll also have room for outreach materials for many organizations to use, as well as bulletin boards for event notices. There will be a counter made out of cob, with four swivel stools. There will also be one small table with room for three or four people, and some tables on the street in front of our 15 foot wide area, as well as two stools outside the openable windows, mqking a kind of outdoor bar. The reception folks will help people find what they need, as well as serve T-Horse Chai and some tea. There will also be light faire served, which will include items not on the R&B menu. This will include Pizza, waffles, and fruit smoothies. Like other locally-generated places up the street, including Laughing Horse Books and the new thai and moroccan restaurants, we see that all the entities that contribute to life on the whole of Division Street help to multiply energy and vitality for the benefit of all entities on the street. Our intention to strengthen local connections is a great strategy for redirecting "inevitable" processes of change, as opposed to being subjected to processes that simply gentrify. Our intention is to build support for Red & Black, in no way do we see our contributions as competing with them. 2) "That would be pretty bad for an organization that likes to talk about community. You can't stab your allies in the back and expect them to smile and give you a hug. Don't do it." Reply: Second,...I think that the text above covers these thoughts, but I'll add something else. -If I thought that we would be hurting Red & Black rathering than building the social and economic infrastructure for our creative and sustainable alternative culture I would not give even an instant of support to this Incubator project. However, based on everything I know, feel, and have learned in the unlearning of my own corporate education, I'm giving tons of energy to this work precisely because I want the momentum that People's, Laughing Horse, Red & Black, Mirador, and others have built in this area to accelerate and inspire tons more and more to happen across the whole city. I trust what we're doing and feel very confident. So many amazing creative expressions and even important institutions have rooted in, are expanding out of, or have been inspired by and supported by City Repair, including FreeGeek, RIPE Catering, Dignity Village, The CenteRing Community Center, Tryon Life Community Farm, and more than fifty self-organizations and gathering places that have come out of the Village Building Convergence. Even the cultures of City Hall and the city bureaucracy have been deeply affected, and now fourteen other cities are doing this kind of catalytic work, including CR Seattle, Los Angeles, and Ottawa. I don't know if we've met, so maybe I can't ask you to trust me. However, I do trust me, so maybe that matters. I ask you to watch this thing take off, and be open to being very surprised and delighted at how much benefit it will bring to the whole region, this city, Division Street, and the Red & Black Cafe in particular. For the last year we've been working on how this thing will manefest, with the same concerns, and more, that you've raised. The last thing I'll add is to invite you to check out the idea of the "multiplier effect" in the field of urban design, because this will help to explain what we're doing at CR. Thanks for sharing your concerns about the Red & Black Cafe because it means a lot to me too, and it is irreplaceable in our lives. If you'd like to discuss this matter further, please let me know. I'd be happy to meet up - at the Red & Black of course! Mark Lakeman